The Mohn lab studies diverse topics in microbial ecology. We are elucidating bacterial degradation mechanisms for a range of organic compounds, including steroids and some pollutants. We are investigating how bacteria respond to and survive various stresses common to the soil environment, particularly stresses associated with soil drying. Finally, we are studying the composition of complex microbial communities in soil and marine environments and are working to understand how the composition of communities relates to the important ecological services provided by those communities. This work is relevant to the use of bacterial enzymes and whole bacteria for synthesis of useful chemicals and for cleaning up contaminated environments. The work is also relevant to sustainable management of forests and understanding microbial mediation of global change.